What Does it Mean When a Realtor Has an SRES Designation?

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By Thomas O'Shaughnessy Updated October 21, 2021


Many seniors share similar concerns when buying or selling a home. Working with an SRES certified real estate agent will ensure that your realtor is attuned to the needs and challenges faced by people who are 50+.

SRES designation

Real estate agents can have a lot of letters after their names and some are more important than others. There are over two million real estate agents in the US, and finding the right agent for you is no easy task.

Home buyers and sellers over the age of 50 often have unique concerns. An SRES designation means that a real estate agent has been trained in the particular issues that older buyers and sellers frequently face.


What does SRES mean?

SRES stands for Seniors Real Estate Specialist. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) awards this designation to realtors who complete an intensive training program specifically focused on the needs of buyers and sellers who are 50+.

All SRES realtors are members of the NAR, have completed SRES training, and is an active member of the SRES Council, which provides continuing education to SRES real estate agents, give valuable informational resources to consumers, and helps connect senior home buyers and sellers with qualified SRES agents.

SRES real estate agents have knowledge and expertise in counseling clients who are 50+ and understand the unique financial and emotional challenges people are faced with when selling a home they may have been in for decades and raised their children in. SRES agents are also educated and able to help clients decide and discover what their current and future needs are when selecting a new home.

What training do SRES realtors receive?

SRES certified real estate agents have completed training on how best to serve clients who are over the age of 50.

This training includes:

  • Studying the key differences in housing options that many older Americans face, from age-restricted communities (including retirement communities) to assisted living;
  • The ins and outs of reverse mortgages and retirement real estate investing;
  • How to use pensions, 401(k) accounts, and IRAs in real estate transactions;
  • How Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security can affect real estate decisions;
  • How to recognize fraudulent mortgage finance and loan schemes that target older Americans and protect their clients; and
  • How to handle applications of the Housing for Older Persons Act (HOPA).

» MORE: State of Retirement Finances: 2024 Edition

What does a realtor's SRES designation mean for me?

If you're a 50+ home buyer or seller, an SRES real estate agent should be more attuned to your needs and situation than an untrained agent.

Senior homeowners often have different needs and finances than their younger counterparts. For example, seniors generally aren't making a job change or moving with small children they have to consider. Older buyers often can afford a higher down payment, or sometimes even pay for a new home in cash. Some older buyers are looking to live in senior housing when they move.

SRES training also includes training real estate agents on things like communicating with people who are 50+. While Millennials may prefer to talk via email or text message, people from many other generations frequently prefer phone calls or to meet face-to-face. Whichever way you prefer to communicate, an SRES trained realtor should be able to meet your needs.

Many senior buyers are looking to downsize, by selling their current home and buying a new one at the same time. SRES agents are familiar with the process and can help you figure out exactly what you need out of your new living situation.

Do you need a real estate agent with an SRES designation?

That decision, like many of the decisions that must be made when buying a home or selling a home, is a personal one. While there are many benefits to using an SRES certified agent, it is certainly not required. It's also the case that not every person who is 50+ shares the common concerns or situations of other 50+ individuals.

Maybe you're looking for someone who has the senior-specific training the SRES program bestows. Maybe you'd prefer to simply work with a real estate agent in the same age range. Or maybe you are not a typical 50+ buyer or seller!

There are a number of benefits to working with an SRES certified agent, but at the end of the day, what you need from a real estate agent is really up to you.

Where can I find an SRES real estate agent?

There are SRES certified agents all over the country. If you're interested in connecting with an SRES real estate agent in your area, Clever can connect you with an experienced local agent who is attuned to your needs as an older buyer or seller. You can start browsing local agents here.

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